News Release

Church and Community Leaders Share Insights with Auckland Young Adults

Elder David J. Thomson, Pacific Area Seventy in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, encouraged members and guests of the Church in attendance at a devotional in South Auckland on Sunday evening to “set goals that really matter to you, then work and sacrifice, with faith, in order to achieve those goals.”

“If you do this,” he said, “the Lord will bless your efforts and miracles will unfold in your life and in your family.”

Guest speaker at the devotional, Leader of the Opposition in New Zealand Parliament, Mr Andrew Little MP, urged those in attendance to “have the confidence to do what is right.”


Mr Little was joined by Labour Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern as well as diplomatic, community and faith leaders from across New Zealand.

Labour MP Mangere Aupito William Sio, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said the evening was an opportunity to “break down stereotypes and barriers.”

“People have perceptions of Mormons and I suspect Mormons who are unfamiliar with other faiths may also have stereotypes,” he said.

“It was a good opportunity for our young people to meet leaders not just of the Mormon faith. There are wonderful people doing wonderful things in the community.”

The night began with a pre-function event where young Latter-day Saints mingled with the visiting leaders.

The first speaker in the devotional program was young Aucklander, Ana Saulala. She spoke about how she relies on her faith when it comes to making difficult choices.

Andrew Little then spoke about his upbringing and career as a lawyer, sharing advice about character, leadership and helping others.

“As a young person I became aware of the issues around me… I became aware of social justice. I wanted to make sure systems give people a fair chance regardless of the circumstances they were born into,” he told those on attendance.

Mr Little’s advice to become successful was simple.

“Be true to yourself, have the confidence to cut your own path and making sure that when you have the opportunity, you give back. It’s about character and community. This is what makes the world better.”

He said he supports religious freedom and believes “people need to know that wherever they go to worship, that is going to be respected and protected”.

“I see what members of the Church do and how they reach out to the disadvantaged and vulnerable. That is what is keeping communities together.”

Jacinda Ardern said the morals she learnt while being raised a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has had a major influence on her.


“The importance of families, the importance of fairness, looking after each other as a community, being service orientated—I learnt all of that growing up as a member of the Church,” she said.

“Whether you’re raised in a religious faith or not—these are good values you should hold onto.”


22-year-old Emma Bradfield is in her last year at university and attends a Latter-day Saint congregation on Auckland’s North Shore. She said it was nice to mingle with the different leaders.  

“I see them on TV all the time so this was on a more personal level,” she said.

“They are real people doing what they believe to be the best.”

Elder Thomson presented Mr Little with a framed copy of "The Family: A Proclamation to the World," a document that outlines the Church’s position on marriage and family.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is politically neutral. Members of the Church are encouraged to learn about social issues and to work with others to strengthen individuals, families and communities.

Community leaders, visitors from other faiths and members of the public are welcome to Latter-day Saint worship services each Sunday as well as other gatherings such as Sunday night’s devotional.

Watch a video shown to guests on Sunday evening which provides an introduction to the Church and its members in New Zealand:


Newsroom contributors: Shilo Kino, Alaina Skipwith and Fualosa Skipwith

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.